Anglican Missions is launching an Emergency Appeal in support of people affected by Tropical Cyclone Donna, particularly those in Vanuatu. (Photo courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory 8 May 2017).
Tropical Cyclone Donna, a category 5 cyclone with wind-gusts nearing 300kmh, battered Northern Vanuatu last weekend. While now weakening and moving south-east away from the country, early reports indicate damaged infrastructure and buildings and destroyed crops and food gardens in a country still recovering from the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015.
Government officials, the Vanuatu Red Cross and other response agencies on the ground including the churches are starting to assess the extent of damage and will report over the next few days, noting that information from the worst-affected areas will likely be slow to come in because boats and planes will not be able to reach some outlying remote islands because of continuing poor weather. These damage and needs assessments will form the basis of a coordinated response – noting there has not been an official request for international assistance at this stage. Past experience of cyclones in the South Pacific suggest people will need help to access clean drinking water, safe shelter and food.
While there are no official reports available yet, as of Monday evening (8 May), the Government of Vanuatu estimates that 1,200 people are sheltering in evacuation centres in Torba Province and 1,000 in Sanma Province, both in Northern Vanuatu.
Anglican Missions Board CEO the Revd. Robert Kereopa has contacted the General Secretary of the Church of Melanesia, Dr Abraham Haurisasi and is in touch with Bishop Patteson Worek, Diocese of Banks Torres, Vanuatu and Bishop James Ligo, Port Villa, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We will provide updates on our website as information comes to hand.
Your prayers for the people of the Diocese of Vanuatu and New Caledonia are very much appreciated. If you or your parish would like donate to this Appeal, please follow this link. Any queries do contact the Anglican Missions Office, either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the office in Wellington on 04 473 5172.